Last week’s Tea of the Week – I created this one to celebrate Chinese New Year. I used a blend of Golden Yunnan & an Assamica grown in the Yunnan province as the base. I used my own whole spice version of a traditional Chinese Five Spice as the main flavor profile: Cinnamon, Star Anise, Fennel, Clove & Szechuan peppercorns (I used both whole and crushed peppercorns and cloves) and I also added a little bit of ginger root (not much – just enough to enhance the peppery notes a bit) and mandarin orange.
The spice has a nice roundness to it, with the licorice-y notes of the anise and fennel being what I taste first, but the other spices coming forward just after I pick up those licorice notes. The mandarin comes through and the Yunnan is a nice, smooth background note. I really like this.
I was excited about it from the onset, but also nervous because while I do like to use Chinese Five Spice in my cooking (I use it for short ribs – YUM!) I wasn’t sure how it would translate in a tea – but since I’ve had all of these spices in teas before save for the szechuan peppercorns – I can’t recall ever having Szechuan peppercorns in a tea before. I’ve had black peppercorns and pink peppercorns and long peppercorns but I don’t recall having Szechuan peppercorns in a tea before – but I felt fairly confident that it would come out alright. It is somewhat chai like – but definitely different from most chai I’ve had too. This has a nice balance of sweet, spicy, and savory to it.